photography from the ground up

When The Rain Comes

When rain finally comes to a parched landscape, the earth seems to give a sigh of relief. In the high desert of northwest New Mexico, the Rio Puerco Valley hasn’t seen appreciable moisture since last summer. And now the skies are opening. The result is a study in contrasts.


And the biggest contrast is that of life and death. There is a very real danger of dying of dehydration in this unforgiving environment. The image below shows the irony of being so near yet so far from the life-giving flow.


With the rains come the dramatic skies that are so common in New Mexico in the summer. The wide horizons allow the sky to, seemingly, stretch to infinity; it feels as if you could actually fall into it.


This image was taken at the Guadalupe ruins, a Chacoan outlier that sits atop a small butte deep in the Rio Puerco Valley. It was inhabited  from about 900-1150 CE. This view is to the north across the Rio Puerco with Cabezon Peak and Cerro Cochito in the distance. There just happened to be a rainbow sitting on the horizon which made this moment even more worth capturing.


I spend a lot of time in this valley, and it is pretty rare to see water in the drainages. I was immediately drawn to this scene as I drove past it, so I stopped to make this image. The light was just perfect and the sky emphasized the mood.


As I was driving out to the highway, I noticed these ominous looking clouds hovering over Cabezon Peak and had to race to the stretch of road I wanted to use in this image. I lost some of the light in the process, but I think I managed to capture most of the drama.

25 responses

  1. Nice! 😃


    August 6, 2013 at 6:25 am

  2. Impressive photo’s !


    August 6, 2013 at 6:31 am

  3. Great job Jim. The images are wonderful and your commentary brings them to life!


    August 6, 2013 at 6:54 am

  4. Fantastic as always Jim. Beautiful.


    August 6, 2013 at 8:41 am

  5. Awesome shots! These are HDR right (?)


    August 6, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    • Thanks Patrick. Some are exposure fusions, some are single exposure images.


      August 7, 2013 at 9:09 am

      • Sorry late, Im working on alot of stuff. Ok, thanks! I been trying HDR lately, never really have b4.


        August 9, 2013 at 6:50 pm

  6. Reblogged this on 8infiniteinfantry8 and commented:


    August 7, 2013 at 8:21 am

  7. Beautiful!


    August 7, 2013 at 9:53 am

  8. the dramatic clouds in these photos are wonderful


    August 7, 2013 at 2:14 pm

  9. Amazing photos.And you’re absolutely right,it really feels like i can fall into the sky:)


    August 7, 2013 at 2:37 pm

  10. I scatter the information.
    イルミナティ(Illuminati)など闇の勢力による「サトラレ(broadcasting of thought man)獲得計画」


    August 8, 2013 at 4:50 am

  11. KidazzleInk

    I really like your work. Keep the photos coming.


    August 8, 2013 at 8:09 pm

  12. cristinasandru

    Absolutely gorgeous images! Amazing! Thanks for sharing! ^^
    Best regards from Romania


    August 11, 2013 at 10:56 am

  13. Awesomeness! Congrats from Romania again 🙂


    September 1, 2013 at 10:04 am

  14. Mo

    Really really awesome photographs. Splendid


    October 6, 2013 at 10:08 am

  15. Amazing pictures!!


    December 12, 2013 at 10:23 am

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